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Beyond the Fanfare

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Ghana last week joined her counterparts all over the world to mark this year’s edition of the annual World Press Freedom Day.

Ironically, Ghana did not only celebrate the day but hosted the global celebration with over 500 journalists from across the world taking part in the event here in Accra.

This year’s celebration which was under the theme; ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law’ coincidentally also saw the country emerging as the best country in Africa in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

Ghana dethroned Namibia who were top last year to place 23rd on the 180-country list.

In as much as THE PUBLISHER believes Ghana deserves to gloat over her new feat, there is still more to do for journalists in the country to feel the real impact of this achievement.

The paper holds and insists that the threats to credible journalism still lurks despite the fanfare.

Recently, Joy News’ Latif Iddrisu was brutally assaulted by some police officers because he approached a police officer to ask some questions about the water cannons and tools being used to disperse some protestors.

Weeks after the incident the police are yet to make any definite pronouncements on the matter.

Again, on 30 January 2018, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) had course to express concern about threats issued against Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah, a journalist with TV3 and 3FM, by persons associated with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Afreh-Nuamah, received death threats for criticising the performance of the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation on social media.

Clearly, these and many examples the paper cannot cite firms our conviction that journalists in the country are not free after all.

Its sad that some media houses have no insurance packages for journalists they have employed looking at the precarious nature of our jobs.

To make matter worse, most journalists of today cannot boast of descent renumeration, accommodation or even descent three square meals a day because salary is an issue and employers and owners of media houses are just unwilling to pay good salaries.

As we look ahead to the 2019 edition of the World Press Freedom Day, stakeholders in the media space must endeavor to tackle the threats that militate against the survival of journalists in the country.

No one can doubt that if democracy is to work satisfactorily, journalists have a role to play in that regard.

It is not for nothing that the 1992 Constitution in Chapter Twelve assert the freedoms and independence of the media.

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